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Farming for Nature Ask the Farmer Q&A with David Kerr

Our next instalment in our monthly Ask the Farmer Q&A Series will take place on March 12 at 8pm.

‘Running an Intensive Dairy Farm with Space for Nature’

David Kerr is a commercial dairy farmer from Ballyfin Co Laois. The 70-ha farm is comprised of mixed land ranging from good grassland to wet heavy land to cutaway bog. David milks 150 cross-bred cows, “following the old farming mantra of one cow to the acre”. He also keeps a small flock of Dorset Horn sheep on the farm. 20% of the land has been reseeded with multispecies swards and clover and this has helped reduce the amount of artificial nitrogen spread on the land. David is an advocate of efficient grassland management, and he hosted a very successful Irish Grassland Association summer tour on his farm in 2014.

There is 3 acres of woodland on the farm, mainly oak, which was planted by David’s late father George. To honour the passing of George last year, David devoted an area of land to a wildlife pond. The 1.5-acre pond was dug and different tree species were planted around the pond. Although the pond is not yet one year old, it has already attracted numerous bird and insect species to the land and has become a central part of the farm. David has left approximately 12% of his farm as non-commercially productive land and he values this land for its biodiversity and wildlife value. “If you farm in a technically efficient manner, you can afford to leave some land aside and dedicated for nature.”

David is a strong example of a farmer who runs a commercial and productive farming enterprise, all the while leaving space aside for nature, biodiversity and wildlife on his land.

Register your place for this free Q&A event on March 12 here 

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